GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.

The Redlands Rotary Club was the host of a Republican debate for Colorado House of Representatives District 55 on Friday, June 10 in Grand Junction. Rick Taggart and Patricia Weber are the two GOP candidates battling for primary votes, and since Weber called heads at the coin toss, she’s up first. “One of the things we don’t have right now in the house, especially on the Republican side, is a doctor in the house,” said Weber.

Weber has worked at Community Hospital for 13 years and served on several committees and the hospital board. She’s focused on improving mental health services and she says her vast medical expertise will go a long way in helping D55. Weber says, “Healthcare affects everything, and I could bring that voice to the legislature, and help people understand the consequences about some of the health issues they’re talking about, and how to deal with them.”

Weber says she wants to maintain the western slope way of living by battling big government mandates. “One of the major issues is overregulation of our small businesses,” said Weber. “I would like to go back and revisit some of the fees that have been added, and burdens that have been put on our small businesses so they can get to work and create opportunity and stimulate the economy.”

Rick Taggart is a former CEO, former Grand Junction mayor and former city council member. He says his experience as a community leader has taught him collaboration is key to getting things done, and his eye is on improving economic commerce on the interstate through Glenwood Canyon. Taggart says, “Transportation is just critical to this community because we are 250 miles from Denver, and we need to have an I-70 that functions.”

Taggart says he’s helped Grand Junction’s economy reach a decade-high of diverse jobs creation, and helped fight tax increases, and now he says he’s going to make the state pay. “We also need support of the state to get a 29 Road interchange to help us bring commercial traffic in a beltway around this city. The Riverside Parkway, the 24 Road: those improvements for commercial traffic in particular around this city have all been funded through local taxpayers through sales tax. We need the state to participate.”

A House District 55 Representative is only one of 65 state representatives elected in Colorado, and the only one representing the largest city between Denver and Salt Lake City, but the decision comes down to you, the voter.

The Colorado Primary Election is on June 28. Voters have until 7p.m. to cast their ballot.